Horse races have been making huge crowds flock to the tracks for years, and it does not come as a surprise that wagering on such events is equally as popular. There is a great number of horse racing events taking place at all corners of the globe almost throughout the year, thus promising that gambling enthusiasts will not run out of events to place their bets on.

Horse races are a great option for punters who want to bet their way, as there are exotic and traditional bets that will work well for all bettors, no matter how vast their experience is. Exotic bets are a go-to option because of their win potential. The variety of such bets is wide, and bettors will have the freedom to decide if they want to spread their choices over one race or several consecutive races, which is the case with pick 3 bets.

Going for pick 3 bets means that punters are ready to enter the territory of the more complex bet types that also award more handsome returns. Punters who enjoy picking the outright winners of races might be eager to give pick 3 bets a shot as this wager type involves selecting the top finishers in three consecutive races.

Making a winning pick 3 bet is undoubtedly not a pushover, especially if they have a good betting strategy and possess handicapping skills.

How Pick 3 Bets Work

In fact, pick 3 bets work in a similar way to daily doubles as what punters will be required to do is pick the winners of several races in a row. As punters can tell from the name, pick 3 bets hit when gambling enthusiasts select the winners of three consecutive races. Because of the larger number of selections punters need to make, pick 3 bets are tough to win, and for this reason, some total novices prefer to avoid them.

Normally, pick 3 bets are introduced as rolling ones, which is to say that they cover any three consecutive races, but some races also offer early and late such bets. With early pick 3 bets, punters will focus on the first three races of the day, while with late pick 3 bets, they will cover the last three races of the day.

Let’s suppose that punters think that the top finishers in the three consecutive races are horse #4, horse #1, and horse #8. Tying in these selections in a pick 3 bet means that punters’ bet will pull off if horse #4 wins the first race in the card, horse #1 wins the second race in the card, and horse #8 wins the third race in the card. Under all other circumstances, punters’ tickets will be a losing one.

If punters correctly select the top finishers in three races in a row, they will be in for a payout, but even if just one of the picks they have made does hit, their ticket will be a losing one. Gambling enthusiasts should know that the way they will construct their tickets is what determines whether they will bag a payout and how handsome their returns will be.

To some degree, pick 3 bets works like a trifecta bet as this wager type involves picking the top finisher, the runner-up, and the third-place finisher. With pick 3 bets, punters will be required to spread their choices over the course of three consecutive races as opposed to just one race.

As gambling enthusiasts can see, pick 3 bets are inherently difficult, and for this reason, some bettors prefer to avoid them. In view of this, many tracks started to look for ways to encourage punters to go for such wagers, and as a result, they have introduced different incentives.

The incentives gambling enthusiasts will be in for vary greatly between the different tracks, and sometimes, they might be offered a guaranteed payout, no matter what betting action that wager has attracted during the day. In other cases, punters might see the pools carry over until the outcome of their bet is determined. Needless to say, if this is the case, the returns will quickly build up.

Playing pick 3 bets is possible in several ways, and if they prefer, gambling enthusiasts can pick several horses per race in order to increase their chances of winning. Naturally, the increased chances of winning have a cost, and the price of their tickets will increase based on the number of runners they decide to cover.

Some punters might say that making three win bets instead of a pick 3 bet is a far better alternative because even if one of the selections does not hit, they will still get a payout, which will not be the case with pick 3 bets. If they are on the fence about whether to place three win bets or make a pick 3 bet, gambling aficionados should consider that the returns straight bets offer, win bets included, are not as substantial as the ones exotic bets like pick 3 introduce. This difference in the potential returns is to be ascribed to the different degrees of difficulty in making a correct pick with the two bet types.

Ways to Play Pick 3 Bets

When placing pick 3 bets, gambling enthusiasts will enjoy great freedom when it comes to the way they can construct their tickets. Depending on the track and the sports betting site, gambling aficionados might be given a choice from straight pick 3 bets, play multiple horses per leg, or even cover all runners in a race.

Straight Pick 3 Bets

If punters want to make pick 3 bets without any complexities, they might prefer to stick to their straight form. Making a straight pick 3 bets requires structuring their tickets around three consecutive races, and, most importantly, around the outright winners of these three events.

This is how a straight pick 3 bet can be made:

  • First leg – 5
  • Second leg – 2
  • Third leg – 3
Bet TypeRequirements to winOdds of winning
Pick 3Punters need to pick the winners of three consecutive races, meaning that pick 3 bets are merely daily double bets with an additional raceVery challenging to win

Playing Multiple Horses per Race

Contrary to what many punters expect, when making a pick 3 bet, they should not necessarily select just one horse per race. It is just the other way around as they will be allowed to add as many combinations to the mix as they prefer, and of course, if their bankroll allows this.

Let’s suppose that punters are confident about the outright winners of the first and second race, but they are in two minds about the top finisher in the third race. Thus, they can select the outright winners of the two races they have no doubt about and then pick the horses they cannot decide between.

  • 3
  • 6
  • 2-5-7

Making such a bet means that punters will get a payout, provided that horse #3 comes first in the first race, horse #6 wins the second race, while horse #2, #5, or #7 comes first in the third race. In this way, punters will key horses #3 and #6 and will combine them with the three selections they are not confident about.

  • 3-6-2
  • 3-6-5
  • 3-6-7

If one of these outcomes occurs, gambling aficionados will get a payout. Naturally, if none of these results appears, they will lose their original bet.

As punters might expect, playing with more than just one horse will be more expensive than including just one horse per leg. Thus, if a single combination costs $2, the above-mentioned bet will cost gambling aficionados $6. In other words, the more selections punters decide to add per leg, the higher the cost of their pick 3 bets will be.

Placing pick 3 bets in such a manner is what punters prefer when there is a standout favorite or two in the races. If we suppose that gambling enthusiasts have four favorites in the first race, five favorites in the second, and four in the third, buying a $1 ticket means that the cost of the bet will jump to $80. Therefore, they should keep their fingers crossed to get a payout of $81 or more in order to turn a profit.

Selecting multiple horses per leg is indeed an appealing option for punters because of the significantly increased odds of winning. Still, they should always keep an eye on the costs as often, they feel tempted to add more runners to their pick 3 bet, and the amount they need to pay goes through the roof, meaning that the risk will not be worth taking.

As was the case in the example we described already, horses #3 and #6 are strong favorites in the first two races, which is the reason why punters will decide to single them. By doing so, the investment they will need to make will be much more reasonable when compared to the situations when they will pick several runners per leg.

Two Horses and All Pick 3 Bets

As we mentioned earlier, punters should not necessarily select just one horse per leg, and they might want to take advantage of this opportunity when they are about to bet on an evenly-matched race or when there are several favorites. On such occasions, gambling aficionados can key the horses they are sure about and then cover all runners in the race they are not confident about.

Let’s assume that punters want to place a $2 pick 3: 1-6-all. This ticket will win if horse #1 is the top finisher in the first race and horse #6 comes first in the second race. The number of the horse that will win the third race is irrelevant simply because punters have covered all runners. This is to say that if their prediction about the outcomes of the first two races, they will be in for a payout no matter the outcome of the third race.

In order for punters to work out the cost of such a bet, they need to multiply the number of selections they will cover per race by the base bet amount. Thus, if we suppose that the number of runners in the third race is nine, we will get that the cost of this bet will be $18.

1 x 1 x 9 x $2

Pick 3 Odds and Costs

Horse racing is not much like the other sports available out there, especially when betting is concerned. When punters take a bit of wagering on horse races and their selections pull off, the returns they will collect will be worked out using the pari-mutuel model. Because of this, the paying odds will not be at hand when punters are submitting their bets, but the returns will be calculated depending on the amount punters who have gone for pick 3 bets have staked and the number of winning tickets.

Please keep in mind that the tracks and the sports betting platforms do not pay out all funds they have taken in, and before they distribute the payoffs, they will collect their commission, which is also known as a takeout.

Each bet placed on the race will be kept in a separate pool depending on the wager type, and once the official order of finish is introduced, the returns will be calculated and handed out to punters. When multi-event bets and such that cover several runners like pick 3 are concerned, the amounts staked per each combination will be kept separately.

Thus, if the overall amount in the pool is $10,000 and the track’s takeout is 15%, the total amount, which will be paid back to punters, will be $8,500. Thus, if the number of winning tickets is 5, for example, punters will be in for a payout of $1,700.

Typically, pick 3 bets cost punters $1, and the fact that gambling aficionados stand the chance to bag a juicy payout with such a small stake is what they like most about such bets. There are also tracks that offer $0,50 or $0,20 pick 3 bets, which makes it possible for punters to take more risks with their wagers.

An important thing to consider is that oftentimes, punters will see late scratches, meaning that one of the runners in the race is removed or scratched from the schedule for some reason. In fact, this is a common occurrence when punters place a pick 3 and beyond bet simply because the covered races are more than just one or two.

What will happen with the bets punters have placed depends exclusively on the time when the scratch occurs. If the horse punters have been removed from the schedule prior to the start of the first leg of their pick 3 bet, on most occasions, they will be offered a refund. If the removed runner is part of the second or third leg of the bet punters have made, they might be in for a consolation prize. Still, this will only be the case if the other two legs hit. is a media website dedicated to sports news and reviews of the most popular sports betting sites. Here you will find comprehensive guides on where to bet on football, tennis, NBA, NFL and information about the most popular betting deposit methods.